Any lover of a hot bowl of noodle soup will tell you that ramen is king. Nothing beats chewy Chinese-style wheat noodles swimming in a bowl of pork infused broth, topped with stewed pork belly, bamboo shoots and toasted seaweed—a culmination of a labor of love and artistry. Fresh ramen is incomparable to its instant variety, although there’s a special place in my heart for that too. And yes, I’m saying it—ramen trumphs pho.
A few weeks ago my sister was in San Mateo, I met up with her after work and we checked out Ramen Dojo, one of the many ramen houses in San Mateo. There must have been 4 0r 5 ramen houses that came on Yelp when I was doing my research; how did San Mateo become the mecca for ramen houses? Oakland needs to step it up.
The ramen menu is written on a chalkboard and it’s unapologetic, short and to the point, especially with its disclaimer at the bottom “Ramen is vegetarian food.” Amen to that! You have your choice of broth, spiciness level and any extra toppings you may want to add. All ramen comes with roasted pork, fried whole garlic, mushrooms, chives, quail egg, and a chicken gravy mixture. I got the garlic infused pork broth, mild (because I suck when it comes to spiciness), and I added toasted seaweed and bamboo shoots (a key ingredient in ramen that I thought should have came with the soup).
The broth was delicious—flavorful with just the right amount of pork grease to give it depth. The spice was good although I thought it masked the flavor of the broth a little too much; I think I may opt out next time just to really taste the broth. The noodles were a little thicker than usual, but very good and chewy. Lastly, the roasted pork was great and it had me craving for more than just 2 slices.
Additionally, there’s a menu for appetizers or really a menu of fried goodness. We ordered the chicken wings and the fried oysters. The chicken wings were good, but nothing extraordinary. The fried oysters on the other hand were insanely delicious. Very fresh and soft on the inside with the perfect crunch on the outside. I was pleasantly surprised.
Ramen Dojo did not disappoint and if I’m ever in the area again, I know where I’ll be going to eat!